Skip to content

Kings’ Mitchell (knee) medically cleared, but hesitant to return — is Sutter annoyed?

Jan 24, 2013, 1:32 PM EDT

Darryl Sutter, Willie Mitchell Getty Images

On Wednesday, LA Kings head coach Darryl Sutter delivered a message to defenseman Willie Mitchell, who’s been cleared to play after lockout knee surgery.

“You know what, he’s got doctor’s clearance,” Sutter told the LA Times. “He’s got trainers’ clearance. Coaches want him to clear himself.

“So do it.”

Is that terseness or bluntness from the bench boss?

Hard to say.

It’s clear Sutter’s none too pleased about his team’s start. The Kings looked flat in a 5-2 loss to Chicago in their home opener, then blew a third period lead in Colorado — prior to that, the Kings went 86-0-9 in 95 games when leading after 40 minutes — to start the season 0-2.

Along the way, he lost the services of defenseman Matt Greene (back) and was forced to give Jake Muzzin (15:23) and Davis Drewiske (10:23) serious minutes against the Avs.

That said, Sutter is a veteran coach and knows it’s far too early to panic.

He’s also been a straight-shooter throughout his career, and this may have been an instance of him simply telling it like it is.

As for Mitchell — well, this isn’t the first time he’s been overly cautious about returning from injury. He suffered a concussion while playing in Vancouver and, after recovering, reflected on the pressure and stress he felt about returning to the ice.

“Everywhere I’d walk: ‘How’s your head? How’s your head?” Mitchell told the Times back in January 2012. “That’s the last thing I wanted to talk about. I just wanted to disconnect from that.

“So that’s what I did. I went to my place in the middle of nowhere in the forest and just chilled.”

While he’s not living in wooded isolation this time around, Mitchell says he’ll still be coming back on his terms.

“I don’t want to get out there and be a liability to my defense partner, to my teammates, to my coach,” he said. “When I come back I don’t want to come back, play the next couple of games and then [the knee] swells up and be out.”

Latest Posts
  1. Blue Jackets ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Scott Hartnell Getty Images

    The Blue Jackets have to hope for better health this season.

  2. It’s Columbus Blue Jackets day at PHT

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Ryan Johansen AP

    Looking to bounce back after an injury-ravaged campaign.

  3. Calder runner-up Stone says injured wrist is ‘100 percent’

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    subbanstone

    You know, the one injured on “that” slash from P.K. Subban.

  4. Pens sign prospect Sprong to entry-level deal

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    2015 NHL Draft - Portraits 2015 NHL Draft - Portraits

    The club’s top pick at this year’s draft.

  5. Kings bringing veteran goalie Budaj to camp on PTO

    Aug 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    Peter Budaj Peter Budaj

    Former Avs and Habs goalie spent all of last year in the AHL.

  6. Detroit adds analytics specialist to front office

    Aug 28, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    Yet another NHL club hiring a fancy stats guy.

  7. Stars re-sign Eakin: four years, $15.4 million

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars

    Scored a career-high 19 goals and 40 points last year.

  8. Sharks’ biggest question: Does DeBoer make a difference?

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    San Jose Sharks Name Peter Deboer Head Coach Getty Images

    Former Panthers, Devils head coach takes over a team that “hit a little bit of a rut.”

  9. Looking to make the leap: Mirco Mueller

    Aug 28, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    Vancouver Canucks v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    After an up-and-down rookie year, he’s looking to solidify his spot.

  10. Hall of Famer Al Arbour passes away

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Getty Images

    Legendary Isles coach had been battling Parkinson’s and dementia.

  11. Poll: Who will be San Jose’s next captain?

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Joe Thornton Getty Images

    Bit of an issue last season, if you’ll recall.

  12. Under Pressure: Martin Jones

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Canada v Germany - 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Getty Images

    From little-used backup to clear-cut No. 1.

  13. San Jose Sharks ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT

    Alex Stalock Getty Images

    It all comes down to goaltending.

  14. It’s San Jose Sharks Day at PHT

    Aug 28, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Patrick Marleau Getty Images

    Their playoff streak ended after 10 straight appearances.

  15. Kings ink prospect Sharipzyanov to entry-level contract

    Aug 27, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Damir Sharipzyanov Getty Images

    The defenseman had 34 points in 66 OHL games last season.

  16. Sabres interested in luring Franson

    Aug 27, 2015, 8:58 PM EDT

    Cody Franson Getty Images

    He might end up with a two-year deal.

  17. Ladd wants to re-sign before season starts

    Aug 27, 2015, 8:21 PM EDT

    Andrew Ladd Getty Images

    He’s entering the final season of his five-year, $22 million deal.

  18. AHL unveils schedule with California teams playing fewer games

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:48 PM EDT

    061315 comets mdd AP

    Playoff seeding will be determined by points percentage.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1703)
  2. P. Kane (1322)
  3. S. Matthias (1183)
  4. D. Carcillo (1068)
  5. P. Datsyuk (1046)